Babies Prefer Picasso to Monet

Researchers at the University of Zurich had twenty-four babies look at paintings by Pablo Picasso and Claude Monet. The ones by Picasso usually held their interest longer:

Immediately afterward, the young participants (who were seated on caregivers’ laps) were shown side-by-side images of two paintings — one by each artist. Experimenters observed how much time they spent gazing at each.

Those who had been looking at Monets preferred the Picasso. This was not a surprise; it was something different and interesting. But those who had been looking at Picassos also focused on the Picasso, suggesting “a spontaneous preference” for his work overrode the appeal of novelty.

“This preference appeared to be highly robust,” the researchers write, “and was observed (in follow-up experiments) even in the absence of very obvious artistic features such as bold colors, sharp contrasts, and the presence of figurative object-like elements.” -via The Hairpin | Images: Monterey Museum of Art, Cummer Museum of Art

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